Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton. I am looking forward to hearing his comments on this as well.
A lot of my colleagues have spoken very eloquently in this emergency debate, brought forward by the member for Lakeland in her passion for her constituency. I am proud to be able to speak along with her about the crisis that is happening in western Canada within our energy sector right now.
I have been here since 11 o'clock this morning and I have heard many speeches regarding the opposition motion. We can tie a lot of these together. I will touch on some of the words that our Liberal colleagues have said throughout the day.
I also want to talk from the perspective of my constituency, my colleagues, my friends and my family. A lot of people who are very close to me work in the energy sector. One of my best friends worked in the energy sector during his time at university. He was a roughneck. He was a rig hand. Now he is an anesthesiologist. People do leave the oil field and get different careers. That should be their choice, not the choice of a select few elite who think their jobs are not worth having anymore.
I have heard that a lot in the chamber today. There is a group of people within the chamber who think they should have the say as to whether oil and gas workers, hard-working men and women, deserve to keep their jobs. That is not right. They are one of the most innovative groups of people in our country. They work hard to ensure that what they do is cleaner, greener and better than any other country in the world. To have a group of people in this chamber say they are not good enough is absolutely ridiculous. Those members should all take a long look in the mirror when they get home.
Standing up for our constituents is what we should be doing. I am not sure if they are doing that. I am not sure if they sent out householders or surveys on whether their constituents are against Canadian oil and gas. I have been in the chamber for only three months, but I was an MLA for eight years. Canadians would prefer to have Canadian gas going into their gas tanks. Whether in the Maritimes or in B.C., Canadians would prefer to have Canadian energy heating their homes.
That is what this emergency debate is about. It is about whether we think Canada should be a country of yes: yes we can build a project, yes we believe in our energy sector and yes we believe in the hard-working men and women who work in our oil and gas sector. We think they have the right to try to make their companies cleaner and greener. I believe they deserve to have that chance and not be phased out by people in this chamber.
I have heard a lot of people quoting, cherry-picking quotes from the Teck CEO's letter. My hon. colleagues do not seem to be reading the whole letter. I will quote from that letter:
We are disappointed to have arrived at this point. Teck put forward a socially and environmentally responsible project that was industry leading and had the potential to create significant economic benefits for Canadians. Frontier has unprecedented support from the indigenous communities and was deemed to be in the public interest by a joint federal-provincial review panel following weeks of public hearings and a lengthy regulatory process. Since the original application in 2011, we have, as others in the industry have done, continued to optimize the project to further confirm [its commercial viability].
I have heard comments about the spot price of oil and West Texas Intermediate right now. It is $50 a barrel. That is true. I understand businesses are still going in the oil sands in Alberta. Syncrude is still operational. It is weird. A company can still make money at this price.
For opposition members to now be captains of industry and talk about energy products and say it could not be done for commercial viability is not true. If the government had been able to approve that project and let that company make the choice after the project was approved, it would have been an interesting position. If the government gave the project the go-ahead three weeks ago, would it have agreed that the project may have continued to be implemented in Alberta?
Do not take my word for it that this was a political decision. Lorne Gunter published a great article a couple of days ago:
The fault is clearly with the [Prime Minister's] government's entirely spineless response to blockades across the country.
I will quote the article:
Make no mistake, the end of Teck Resources’ Frontier oilsands mine is [the Prime Minister's] fault—plainly, clearly, unequivocally.
The project’s cancellation also means the radical fringe is in charge of Canada, not the government, the courts or the police.
Teck’s decision, announced Sunday, will also have far-reaching effects on the entire Canadian economy, not just the energy sector.
There is no doubt this is [the Prime Minister's] fault.
The article went on to say:
[The Prime Minister] showed he wasn’t interested in being in charge when, last Tuesday, he said the answer to the lawless at the blockades was more touchy-feely consultation and listening.
He ends the article:
Don’t ask a federal Liberal MP or cabinet minister what Canada’s First Nations policies are. Don’t even ask the majority of Indigenous Canadians who want to improve their communities by participating in projects such as Teck Frontier and Coastal GasLink.
Go ask the unelected, unaccountable radicals at the blockades, because they’re in charge now.
Is that the country we are going to live in? I have three young children, ages six, four and three. Is that the country we want to pass on to the next generation where there is no rule of law? Is this not the place where we make decisions? Is this not the place where we want to make sure big, nation-building projects can be built?
I have heard almost every left-wing falsehood this evening, including the Victoria MP saying we have to be cleaner while Victoria dumps 100,000 litres of raw sewage in the ocean every year. Thanks for that. Maybe the MPs should clean up their own backyard first before talking about what we should do in western Canada, in Saskatchewan and Alberta. That would be a good start.
I want to talk about some of my constituents and some of the hard-working people who put pipes in the ground: the people who work at Evraz and the people who want to go to work. When I was door-knocking, I talked with Wade on his doorstep. It was snowing so I did not see it at first, but he pointed to the “for sale” sign on his front yard. He told me he had not worked for 18 months and could not afford his house anymore. His wife just left him, so he could not afford the payments.
These are real Canadians who are having difficult times. It is incumbent upon the government to support all of Canada. The crux of the motion is that we should have had this conversation when this happened in the automobile and aerospace sectors because those jobs are as important as the jobs in western Canadian provinces. They are as important as our oil and gas sector. We have had those debates and we had comments from members saying maybe we should not have this debate. Maybe this is not a crisis and maybe this is not important.
I hear it being said about my constituents that maybe their jobs are not important and they have to get new jobs. There are 300,000 new clean jobs in this country. Can anyone name them? Probably not, because a lot of them are in the oil and gas sector, which are doing clean energy projects.
Before we had a group of people in this chamber saying our hard-working men and women in the oil and gas sector and in the construction sector are dangerous in small communities. They help build small communities. They are not dangerous people in those communities.
Before we have a group of men and women in this chamber saying the hard-working men and women in the oil and gas sector would not get the job done and have a cleaner energy sector, we should give them that chance before we phase them out. We are going to be here fighting for them, making sure they have that chance now and in the years to come.